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McLean researcher

J. Alexander Bodkin: Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Program

Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental illnesses. The Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Program, founded in 1998, focuses on hard-to-treat cases of these conditions.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are the best treatment for many depressed patients but are rarely used due to potential dangerous interactions with certain foods. Our group helped to develop a safe and effective transdermal preparation (skin patch) with minimal dietary interactions.

We study new medicines for treatment resistant depression as well as adjunctive medicines for residual symptoms such as apathy or impaired concentration. We were among the first to publish evidence of the effectiveness of opioids on treatment-resistant depression. Opiates were the first antidepressants prescribed by physicians but were abandoned in the mid-twentieth century for safety reasons. We examined buprenorphine as a safer opioid with reduced potential for abuse.

In addition, we evaluate new medications for treating chronic anxiety and sleep difficulties.